The Class Conference 2012 Programme: Investing in Student Housing

Conference Programme 

Opening Session: Investing in Dutch student housing: Market in a European Context
A growing number of students and structural housing shortages have created unprecedented interest in Dutch student housing. Will this interest translate into an investment boom similar to the United Kingdom? International expert James Pullan will discuss the opportunities and challenges in the Dutch market in a European context. A panel of international and local investors will debate the opportunities given the financial and regulatory constraints. Central question: which measures are necessary to unleash the market’s investment potential?

This panel concluded: “The Dutch market has potential but is not ready yet for international institutional investors”.

Key note speaker:
James Pullan – Head of Student Property Knight Frank

Rudy Stroink – Owner & Founder TCN / Coach

Rob Vester – Director development Syntrus Achmea
Gerard Anderiesen – Director Stadgenoot
Vincent Gerritsen – Senior Investment Manager PGGM Infrastructure

Break-out Sessions I

1.1    Het Nieuwe Bouwbesluit
The new building regulations of the “Nieuwe Bouwbesluit” are a fact. Regulations for office conversions have never been as easy as today. What does this mean for student housing? What are the implications for investors and local governments? A masterclass on the new regulations explained with special case studies.

This panel concluded: “Going for lowest regulatory standards does not result in the right quality. Redevelopment is more lucrative than new construction.”


Hajé van Egmond – Policy Coordinator Building Quality, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations

Jan Hardlooper -Consultant Cauberg Huygen Raadgevende ingenieurs
Harald Evers – District manager Vestide


1.2    Making Investments happen in the Netherlands
Market research indicates strong appetite for new student housing across the Netherlands. Institutional investors and developers are entering the market. What are their experiences so far? Two developers, one bank and an international market specialist dig deep and provide true insights into the complexity of building student housing in The Netherlands.

This panel concluded: “The challenges are still prohibitive to inward investments from overseas. Creativity in driving rents is the way forward until regulations really change.”

Marcus Roberts – Head of Student Investment Savills investments

Ebe Treffers – Regional manager Noord Bouwinvest
Giel van Wijk – Development manager Syntrus Achmea Property Development
Jan van der Doelen – Senior Sector manager Business Banking ING The Netherlands


1.3    Buy to Live & Let: Private investments in student housing

Over seventy percent of the students find housing in the private market. This panel thinks that the image of old student homes should be adjusted. Private student housing can offer a good alternative to social housing and also an interesting investment for private investors and professional developers. But the current rent policies and lack of financing options make a profitable operation hard for private owners in the Netherlands. This panel focused on how investment conditions can be improved and what lessons we can learn from Belgium.

This panel concluded: “Current regulations prevent innovation in The Nederlands.”


Ronald Huikeshoven – regional director AM

Maurice van de Vreede – Commercial project manager at L.I.F.E. N.V
Hein Bos – Director Vereniging Vastgoedbelang


1.4    Investing in social student housing
Over 25 percent of Dutch students rents from social student housing corporations. The “Nationaal Akkoord” states that social housing corporations aim to maintain this market share by building 16.000 new units. The ongoing financial crisis complicates their investment opportunities: Corporations no longer can nor want to build housing at an operational loss or negative yield. How do social housing corporations define their own role? Where do they see investment opportunities in the coming years? Do financial partnerships with institutional investors offer new opportunities?

This panel concluded: “The new government plans have caused uncertainity for non profits which limit the private finance possibilities.”

Ad Hereijgers – Secretary Forum Housing & Living

Thomas Heijdendael – Partner Finance Ideas
Gaaike Euwema – Director Residential Services Nijestee
Wim de Waard – Specialist Student Housing De Key
Karin Reilingh – Manager Community Real Estate Ymere


1.5    Design driven innovation
Strict building and rental regulations resulted in the dominance of the 30m2 student studio in new construction in The Netherlands. Recent regulatory changes, technological innovation and the international emergence of furnished housing have created new momentum for design driven student housing. What are the current local and international trends in design and architecture? How does design add value by keeping cost low and responding better to what students want and need.

This panel concluded: “The uniform student does not exist, therefore the point system should be abandoned.”

Martijn Bakker – Partner Lingotto

Rob Ursem – Ursem Modular Building Systems/Ballast Nedam
Haiko Meijer – Co-founder Onix
Daan Hemminga – Director Instyle Concepts
Bart Mispelblom Beyer – Owner Tangram Architecture
Albert Herder – Co-founder at HvdN architects and Studioninedots


Break-out Sessions II

2.1    Universities & student housing: new partnerships
Increasing competition and internationalisation has put student housing on the agenda of Dutch universities. Most universities don’t see developing as an option. New partnerships are therefore emerging. Cooperation is explored with both social corporations as commercial developers and operators. Experience is limited and expectations are not always aligned. Stakeholders explain what partnerships they are currently working on.

This panel concluded:“Universities say yes to partnerships but will not give guarantees.”

Marco van Hoek – City Consult

Paul Doop – Vice-President Executive Board UvA-HvA
Maurice Evers – Director Student & Staff Housing Maastricht University
Rob Brons – President Board of Directors Haagse Hogeschool


2.2    Emerging European student housing markets
Continental Europe is said to be twenty years behind the student housing investment boom in the United Kingdom and America. Today, international investors are introducing existing and new brands across Europe catering to both local and international students. This panel discusses the prospects for European investments highlighting trends and recent developments in countries such as Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

This panel concluded:“Fewer government regulations attract investors.”

Philip Hillman – Head of Student Housing Jones Lang Lasalle

Rainer Nonnengässer – Executive Board Member Youniq Germany
Charlie MacGregor – The Student Hotel The Netherlands/Belgium
Fabien Mollet-Vieville – Melon District Barcelona
Bob Crompton – CEO Knightsbridge Student Housing UK


2.3    Studentenhuisvesting as a panacea voor vacant offices?
The large amount of press suggests student housing is the panacea for office space vacancy. The reality is more nuanced. Financial feasibility and student preferences demand a thorough analysis of which offices can  and can not be transformed to student housing. A panel of experts offers you insights in what does and does not work.

This panel concluded:“As long as the owner devaluates, everything is possible.”

Duco Stadig – President H-team

Hans van Dijk – Stichting Tijdelijke Transformatie Kantoren
Joost van Gestel – CEO Camelot Europe
Paul Oudeman – Kantorenloods municipality of Amsterdam
Robert Ramdhani – Senior Concept Developer Van Wijnen


2.4    What Students Want & Need
More and more students consider the availability of high-quality and affordable student housing when choosing a university. The residential demand of students differs in every student city and university. Price, location and quality define the price just as much as the growth and positioning of the universities. What are the regional differences? Where and how will the demand increase or decrease in the following years? What do students want? And how do Dutch universities perform compared to their foreign colleagues.

This panel concluded: “The investment window of financiers does not run parallel to the window of universities.”

Bart Schrijnen – Founder Maponomics

Nannette Ripmeester – International Student Barometer
Co Poulus – Director and Research ABF Research


Closing Session: Dutch Higher Education Market: Are we ready to accommodate talent?
Higher education drives the demand for student housing. What are the growth prospects of higher education in The Netherlands in an increasingly global market place? And what do universities, housing providers and governments need to do to ensure that we remain competitive and attractive to local and international students. The Class of 2020 asked Studyportals CEO Edwin van Rest to give a critical analysis of our opportunities and challenges. International investor Xavier Jongen and Nuffic’s education promotion director Han Dommers are here to respond and add from their unique insider perspectives.

This panel concluded: Internationalisation represents an incredible growth opportunity for the Dutch economy and education sector. Realizing this potential requires action and collaboration of all stakeholders involved, from regulations to finance, from education to housing operators. 

Edwin van Rest – Founder & CEO Studyportals

Rudy Stroink – Owner & Founder TCN / Coach

Xavier Jongen – Fund Direcor Bouwfonds European Residential
Han Dommers – Head of Education Promotion NUFFIC